Tag Archives: Stress

When You Need Some Help: 5 Reasons to Join a Caregiver Support Group


In a world that seems to have lost the idea of the “village,” sometimes we feel pressured to be able to do it all. Asking for assistance or admitting that you are overwhelmed feels like failure, and we often think that we’re being judged by others as not good enough. And that’s just with normal, everyday life.

When you find yourself caring for a loved one, the pressure increases. You are expected to take on this additional burden with a smile, and your willingness to do so seems to be a measurement of your love; expressing your anger or frustration to friends and family earns you appalled looks of disbelief. The good news is that there is a village for you; a caregiver support group. Here are 5 reasons why you should think about joining one.

To Reduce Stress

Perhaps the primary reason to join a support group for caregivers is to reduce your stress levels. Simply having that hour to yourself every week is an important step in separating yourself from the role of caregiver and reclaiming your identity. Being under excessive stress can have negative consequences for both your physical health, and your mental well-being. Maintaining your own well-being is essential to being able to properly care for your loved one.

To Gain a Safe Space

You won’t find any disapproving looks or judgment in a support group. Support groups are by their very nature a confidential and judgment-free zone, where you can discuss your frustrations and less than charitable thoughts with people who understand exactly what you’re going through. They can help alleviate your feelings of guilt and inadequacy, and when you admit to selfish thoughts and attitudes, they will nod their heads and tell you that they understand.

To Reduce Feelings of Isolation

When you’re a caregiver for someone else, it’s easy to find yourself feeling alone, both literally and emotionally. When you can’t leave your loved one to go have a drink with your friends, or you spend all your waking time tending to someone else’s needs, you often find that you don’t have any social interactions. All your contacts are with the person you’re caring for, or their healthcare professionals. Emotionally, it appears nobody else understands you and it’s difficult to relate to those outside your situation. Joining a support group puts you in touch with other people who get it.

To Prevent Burnout

If you end up caring for someone else for too long, without any support system in place for yourself, you’re likely going to suffer from burnout. You’ll reach a point where caring for someone has taken such a toll on you that you are incapable of continuing, and many times, you’ll lose your identity and sense of self. Caregivers leave their support groups feeling refreshed and empowered to keep going. Members can point you in the direction of other resources and programs that can assist you. You may be able to find help with meals, respite care, or even an opportunity to hire a part-time caregiver to relieve you.

To Gain Insights and Advice

Being part of a support group is one of the best ways to find valuable advice and information about caregiving. Everyone has their own methods for dealing with stress, setting boundaries, and finding time for self-care. Having the knowledge of so many others freely available can help you to discover which tips and tricks will work best for you. They may be even able to help prepare you for what to expect down the road.

Joining a caregiver support group may be the best thing that you can do for yourself during this trying time. It will help you maintain your own well-being while caring for another.

About Audrey:

Audrey Robinson is a careers blogger, supporting online knowledge libraries like BizDb. Audrey enjoys working with people from different professions, sharing her tips for self-improvement, improving one’s career opportunities and preventing burnout. Feel free to reach out to her on @AudreyyRobinson.

 

 

 

 

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How to Manage Your Finances as a Caregiver


More than 34 million Americans currently provide unpaid care to loved ones over the age of 50. This can include dropping by to check on their loved one’s well-being, shopping for groceries and assisting with the activities of daily living (ADL). It can include ferrying older people to doctor’s appointments, physical therapy or hospitals. Caregiving can also involve monitoring prescription medication and making sure doctors’ orders are followed.

These multiple caregiving activities have one thing in common: they can erode or even severely damage your finances.

It’s very easy to start spending your own money in caregiving activities. It may start as a bag of groceries or a home-cooked meal. But it can also get larger and deeper very fast. You may renovate your parents’ home to make it safer for elderly living, or you may need to pay part of their mounting medical bills.

Among Americans, 46 percent spend more than $5,000 of their own money caring for elderly relatives yearly. Another 30 percent spends up to $10,000 yearly.

Before you know it, your own finances are in danger. You may have difficulty paying bills. You may take out a second mortgage on your home. You may max out your credit cards or use up rainy day or retirement savings.

The sums spent are compounded by the fact that caregivers often cut back on paying work to give care. Many transition to part-time work which can lead to less cash coming in just when you are spending more.

Fortunately, there are ways to more effectively manage your finances as a caregiver. All caregivers are entitled to look after themselves. After all, if they don’t, they won’t have any energy or patience left to give care with.

Here are the most important ways to manage your finances.

Create a Budget for Yourself

It’s essential to create a budget. Without it, people may tend to be somewhat in the dark about what they are actually spending their money on, and how frequently.

The first step is to start keeping track of what you spend every day, week and month. There are several software programs that allow you to do this — and a spreadsheet or even a small notebook can do the trick as well.

Don’t just guess. Guessing may lead you to believe you are spending $10 on coffee per week when stress has made you spend closer to $10 per day.

Only when you see these figures laid out in front of you will you know how much you are spending. If it matches or is less than your income, great! If it exceeds your income, you need to make some cuts or raise your income.

Create a Budget for Your Loved One

You need a budget for your loved one. You should know how much income your loved one has coming in.

You also need to create a spreadsheet of how much your loved one is spending per day. Then begin to enter it on a spreadsheet for each week and month.

If your loved one has income such as Social Security, retirement distributions or a pension, see how much of their daily expenses it covers. Be sure to leave enough for health insurance and deductibles.

Discuss the Budget With Family Members

If you have siblings or other concerned family members, it’s time to have a meeting once the budget is done. Include your loved one, of course, if that is feasible. If your loved one’s income meets their needs, it’s time for you to stop spending your own cash.

If the income exceeds their needs, broach the idea of the caregiver being paid out of the surplus. It’s not unreasonable for all needs of the loved one to come out of their own funds. Some older people may need help with paying bills and balancing checkbooks.

If the caregiving is extensive and the caregiver has curtailed work, see if the caregiver can be paid out of the loved one’s funds. You want to hold a family meeting so that the use of the funds is transparent and doesn’t cause misunderstanding or hard feelings. If you can be paid, keep a record of all payments for future reference.

Discuss Sharing Arrangements

If the loved one’s funds aren’t sufficient to pay a caregiver, discuss other options with your family. Some common options are:

  • Share caregiving duties with other family members.
  • Engage respite care to give the caregiver a break at least once a week.
  • Hire a live-in caregiver at least part of the time with family members chipping in on the salary.
  • Move the loved one to be closer to you if that eases the financial burden.
  • Move the loved one to an assisted care facility, nursing home or specialized care facility.

If none of these options is realistic for your situation, it might be time to look for other sources of funding.

Look Into Other Funding Sources

Multiple organizations offer potential funding. Medicaid options vary by state, but some offer an allowance for care. They also sometimes have information on other funding sources.

If your state or municipality has services for seniors, ask about what they offer in terms of respite care and funding.

Veterans of the U.S. armed forces should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans who might otherwise have to move into a nursing home have access to a Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services program. It has provisions for managing care, including paying hired caregivers.

The takeaway here is that you don’t necessarily have to compromise your own financial peace of mind to care for an older loved one. Instead, look into these potential sources of help.

Authors Bio: Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.

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Dealing with the Stress of Being a Caregiver


We welcome guest writer Maggie Howard to The Purple Jacket

The demands of being a caregiver can seem so overwhelming that it can be easy to slip into depression and resentment. That is why it is so important that you learn to take care of yourself as well as the one you are caring for every day. There is a variety of support out there for caregivers, so it’s vital that you seek help if you are feeling the stress of the situation. Here are some of the other ways that you can help yourself as well as them.

Why is Caregiving So Stressful?

While caregiving can be extremely rewarding, many other stresses are not always a result of being a caregiver. If you are also taking care of your family or working, that can add a lot of pressure to your life, especially if something happens and you need to devote additional time to the one you’re caring for. There is also the upsetting thought that the person you’re caring for isn’t getting any better despite your best efforts. It can be demoralizing and upsetting. By trying to ignore the stress or not allow people to help you, it can start to affect your life.

Learn to Recognize the Symptoms

It is important that you recognize the symptoms of stress and get the help you need to deal with it. Otherwise, you could find yourself burning out and becoming a patient yourself. Some of the things you need to look out for are anxiety, depression, and irritability. These, in particular, can be difficult to judge so you should seek the advice of a doctor. If you are also starting to suffer from health problems or are having trouble sleeping, and a lack of libido, then these can also be warning signs. There are things you can do, such as practicing relaxation techniques and perhaps buying products to help you in the bedroom such as https://bathmatedirect.com/collections/large. If you don’t get the help you need, then you could start to suffer from increasing problems such as a feeling of hopelessness or helplessness.

Make Time for You and Your Patient

It is important that you take some time to yourself so that you can do activities you like. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just doing something you love is the key. You also need to give them the time to be themselves and do their own things. For example, if they love to paint or to sew, then you should let them enjoy that time, and you can do other things as well. If you choose these times to have someone look after them, then you can go and do the things you love.

There are other things that are also important such as spending time visiting or talking to friends, so you feel connected to the outside world. You should also take advantage of any respite care that may be offered. It can give you a day or perhaps two when you can recharge your batteries.

Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.

maggiehammond57@gmail.com 

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The Negative Effects Of Stress


We welcome guest writer Sarah Jones to The Purple Jacket. 

Have you ever been faced with a life situation whereby your body system requires you to fight or take flight? That’s what scientists call stress. It can be brief like being stuck in a traffic jam to getting to that interview room or arguing with someone. It can also be long term like losing a loved one, a job, getting a divorce, or psychological trauma. All this make the nervous system respond both as a means of protecting you and enabling you to remain focused and alert. But most importantly, your body bursts with energy.

Stress can be beneficial when it spurs you to act in the face of challenges. On the other hand, when stress continues over an extended period of time and becomes persistent it results in acute stress which has chronic harmful health effects to the body. Below is a detailed look at these negative effects of stress.

Diseases and Infections

Your body, through the immune system, releases chemicals known as cytokines. Chemicals that send messages to cells that counteract infections and enable cells to multiply when the need arises. During acute stressful periods, your body releases hormones which hinder the production of these chemicals.

Consequently, the body’s immune system is restrained from efficiently coordinating the combat of infections and diseases. Therefore the capacity of your body to effectively fight infections and diseases is impeded. As a result, you end up being prone to infections and other autoimmune diseases.

Anxiety and Depression

Sometimes stress can overcome you without you even noticing. It, therefore, becomes a part of your daily life until it gets normal and almost feels familiar. This is the situation when you cease realizing how it’s affecting your normal being yet has an adverse impact on your mental and psychological well being.

Anxiety creates trepidation and chronic stress results to depression. In this situation, you become moody and irritable, easily angered by petty things, and therefore you become unhappy. This may lead to you isolating yourself and feelings of loneliness creeping in.

To reduce stress and stay calm thus remain healthy you can employ the use of therapeutic essential oils. Invest in a good oil diffuser to be able to relax at home after a long day at work.

Low Libido

If you are experiencing a low sex drive, it might be as a result of stress. Erectile dysfunction accompanied with premature ejaculation when having sex is common, especially among men. Hence it will affect bonding and relationships, especially among married couples. The decreased sexual desire may lead to frustrations in either or both of the partners leading to separation and in worst cases even divorce. Bedroom romance is a key pillar of marriage. Therefore before you escalate to negative stress you would want to reconsider your sexual desires status.

Heart Diseases

When you are stressed the body releases stress hormones which increase your heartbeat and create a “racing heart” feeling. This is accompanied by chest pains and an increase in your blood pressure and fat levels.

All these symptoms can lead to a heart attack or failure. The fats accumulated in the body lines on the walls of the blood vessel hindering blood from flowing to the heart. Physical exercises with reduced stress levels can reduce this risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.

The Bottom Line

Do you sometimes try to develop the relationship between your health and stress-related behaviors? Of course, the two relate to a great length. Some stress-relieving mechanisms such as smoking, alcoholism, use of drugs, eating more or less pose a general health risk to your body. So next time you press the stress button, think of the healthier side of life you are touching!

Bio: Sarah Jones is the editor of relaxeveryday. Finding aromatherapy in a stressful point in her life made all the difference to her health. She promotes a healthy and relaxed life, and want to help others in their strive for a calmer life. Sarah can be reached at sarah@thrivingnichemedia.com

 

 

 

 

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Toula’s Tips: Caregiver Burnout — It’s Real!


Today we welcome my good friend and guest writer, Toula Wootan from Toula’s Tips for Caregivers to “The Purple Jacket”

 Have you ever felt like this? If so, you are certainly not alone. It’s so very common. Here are a few symptoms to let you know if you are experiencing caregiver burnout:

  • Overreacting to minor nuisances

  • Feeling constantly exhausted

  • Losing interest in work

  • Decrease in productivity at work

  • Withdrawing from social contacts

  • Increasing use of alcohol or stimulants

  • Change in eating patterns

  • Change in sleeping patterns

  • Increasing use of medications for sleeplessness, anxiety or depression

  • Inability to relax

  • Scattered thinking

  • Feeling increasingly resentful

  • Being short-tempered with care recipient frequently

Do you see yourself in the above? If so, perhaps it’s time to take a step back, or perhaps to take a real time-out.

How, you say? If you don’t have family or friends who can step in, there are many support services to help you do this. Many assisted living facilities offer respite, a short-term stay. There are also many adult day care centers in our area, and we have many companion/sitter agencies. Perhaps you qualify for Aging True — they have a team of volunteers who can sit with your loved one occasionally.

 Whatever it takes, take a break so you can rest, do something for yourself, renew your perspective and refresh. It’s essential. I like the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

 I am the primary caregiver for both of my parents and work full-time, leading caregiving initiatives! I keep these eight things in mind to help me: sunshine, fresh air, exercise, prayer, water, diet, rest and laughter. Do they resonate with you? They are simple but make a big difference. So does having fun with friends! Don’t forget that.

 I hope these help you. As always, thank you for caring.

 

Toula Wootan

 Toula’s Tips for Caregivers, can now be hear on Spreaker.com/user/toulastipsforcaregivers or from Toula’s website at ToulasTipsforCaregivers.com.  You can email Toula at toulastips@gmail.com

Thank you Toula for all you do for Caregivers in Jacksonville and all over the country!

 

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5 Unexpected Symptoms of Stress and What to Do About Them


Today we welcome guest writer Trevor McDonald to The Purple Jacket

The human body is an intricate machine, and if something goes awry it can impact a variety of subsystems. Rarely is there an issue with “just” one specific part of the body—and it’s also important to remember that holistic wellness includes physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and social health. Stress is a big wrench thrown into the human system, and in Western countries it’s often hefted with a sense of pride. However, stress can really do a number on the body, and some symptoms can take weeks, months, or even years to manifest.

You likely know about the obvious signs of stress, such as headaches and fatigue, but stress can play out in the body in a number of tricky ways. Here are five unexpected stress symptoms that you might not see coming, and what to do about them:

  1. Hair loss. There are many causes for hair loss and issues that exacerbate them, and genetics is just part of it. Stress can cause men’s hair loss, and even women’s hair loss. The hair is one of the last places the body routes nutrients towards because it’s not nearly as necessary for survival, unlike many other body parts (such as organs, muscles, and bones). Hair goes through natural shedding cycles, but if you’re constantly exposed to stress it might seem like your hair is in non-stop shedding mode. Stress-related hair loss usually presents as exaggerated thinning and not the classic “male pattern baldness” or patches of baldness.

What can you do about it? The first step is doing something  to reduce stress. There are also a variety of hair loss reversal tactics, such as using topical minoxidil (Rogaine’s active ingredient) to stimulate hair growth and stop stress-related shedding. Only shampooing every two or three days with a paraben-free shampoo designed to stimulate the scalp can also help. Laser combs and helmets with stimulating diodes have also shown great promise.

  1. Skin breakouts. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, but preventing breakouts is at the bottom of your body’s to-do list. Both stress and hormone shifts can cause acne, breakouts, and flare-ups. Acne can be painful, but if it’s stress-related it’s likely more embarrassing and a confidence killer than anything else. Fortunately, there are many ways to address it.

Again, reduce stress. Try over the counter topical treatments first, as well as acne-specific facial cleansers and astringents. Moving to prescription-based topicals is the next step. In severe cases, medications may be prescribed or a dermatologist might suggest dermabrasion or chemical peels to correct acne scarring.

  1. Low libido. Few people feel “in the mood” when they’re highly stressed, which is perfectly normal. However, if you’re chronically stressed, your libido may chronically suffer. This can cause big problems in relationships, preventing you from bonding.

Lower your stress, and you’ll raise your libido. Other approaches include prioritizing intimacy with partners, scheduling romantic dates, and making an effort to feel and look your best. Remember that intimacy is paramount for many to bond.

  1. Thin, peeling nails. Not only can stress cause nails to be fragile, you might also be inclined to bite and chew them from stress. Your hands operate as a quick, easy sign of overall health. In professional and personal relationships, you might be judged by your hands.

 Stress reduction is still the number one route to healthier nails. Regular manicures for both men and women can also work wonders. Opt for a paraffin dip, keep nails short and trimmed if they’re prone to breaking, and keep your hands moisturized throughout the day to prevent cracking and hangnails. A biotin supplement can also aid in hair, skin, and nail health.

  1. Almost every disease imaginable. Stress has been linked to almost every disease there is including heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, and much more. Some of these diseases are curable, but many are not. Many can also be life-threatening.

If you needed another reason to reduce stress, this is it. Stress management is core to overall health and well-being. Preventative care, including stress reduction, is the easiest, fastest, and most affordable way to manage or avoid deadly and painful diseases and disorders.

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic whose been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.

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Elements of Healing Touch Massage


Caregivers, looking for a way to relax, take some time for yourself, to loose some of that pent up stress?  Have you ever considered a massage from a licensed massage therapist to help rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit? Well, then join us on Wednesday, July 29th on Health Café Live.com at 7:00 pm (EST) for a conversation with  Licensed Massage Therapist Wayne White. Massage therapy dates back thousands of years and is  derived from the Greek word,”massein” meaning ‘to knead.’  Through the  manipulation of soft tissues of the body by  squeezing, rubbing, tapping, vibrating or compressing for therapeutic intent, massage therapy heals and helps rejuvenate our body, mind and spirit.  Don’t just take it from me! Listen in and learn how Wayne is  creating Healing Ties all around us through the art of massage therapy.

Cannot listen live?  No Worries! Healing Ties Radio is available ON DEMAND at:

Our iHeart Radio Channel  by  clicking here!

Our Healing Ties Website by clicking here.

And in the United Kingdom on UK Health Radio by clicking here! 

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Discharged!


We’ve been discharged from the hospital!

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I’ll be back later today on ‘The Purple Jacket’ with further details.

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Stress-Less Caregiving on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’


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On Tuesday July 16th at 1:00 pm (est) I am pleased to welcome Psychologist, Dr. Janice Hynes to our show. To listen to our episode live, simply click here!

Dr. Hynes is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been practicing for over 20 years.  She provides individual, couples, and family therapy and specializes in stress management and anxiety reduction. She also served as the sole caretaker for each of her parents in their final years. Dr. Hynes regularly offers group presentations on anxiety management, conflict resolution, and “Extreme Self-Care for Extreme Situations”

Are you your own worst critic? We are all engaged in a constant dialogue with ourselves. All too often, this takes the form of a battle. You can learn to ease this inner conflict and become more effective in times of stress. Dr. Hynes combines information about how our brain chemistry functions in times of stress with how we can more compassionately care for our psychological self. Through our conversation with Dr. Hynes, we will all learn how to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver.’ 

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‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio


On Tuesday, January 22nd we welcome Mandy Harrell from Wearvever* USA to our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ show on Blog Talk Radio.  The Wearever* Brand offers comfortable, quality, affordable and stylish apparel solutions for everyday health and wellness concerns.  You can access the show live or at your convenience (after Tuesday at 1:30pm) by clicking here

The men’s and women’s line of washable, reusable urinary incontinence panties and briefs is especially beneficial for active people who want to continue their normal lifestyles without worry or emotional stress resulting from urinary incontinence.  Additionally, Wearever* offers incontinence bedding products as well as Buster Brown socks.

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As the Brand Manager for Wearever* USA, Mandy will provide us with some helpful tips and talk about their great products as Wearever USA helps us to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver!’ 

To learn more about Wearever* USA, you can visit their website by simply clicking here.

Our show is available live or archived online for your convenience.

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To access all our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ episodes on

blogtalkradiologo Simply click here

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